December, 5, 2013 (KAMPALA) - The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has voted to allow French troops join African Union forces in the Central Africa Republic (CAR).
The troops will have a mandate to use force in the protection of civilians.
The UNSC vote came on a day that saw intense sectarian fighting between Christians and Muslims in the CAR capital Bangui.
More than 100 were killed in the clashes between the Seleka rebels who took over power in March this year and militias loyal to former president Francois Bozize.
Ban Ki-moon welcomed the adoption by the Security Council today of resolution 2127 (2013) which authorizes under Chapter VII of the UN Charter the deployments of African and French forces to address the situation in the Central African Republic.
"This is an important and timely step that sends a message of international resolve to respond to the crisis. It is urgent that resolution 2127 is now implemented with all speed so that the people of the Central Africa Republic can be spared further suffering, insecurity and violence" he said in a statement released on Thursday.
In Paris, the French government announced that 250 soldiers are deployed in Bangui to protect the CAR capital after deadly clashes where over 23 people were killed.
Laurent Fabius, French foreign minister told reporters that France would deploy a total of 1,200 soldiers in CAR to prevent the violence from spiralling out of control.
“We have to end this humanitarian catastrophe and restore security”, Laurent Fabius said.
On the streets of Bangui residents told stories of horror calling on the French to come to their rescue.
“When Seleka entered, there were dead Christians. This time it could be worse ... We need the French. The French have to come quickly”, Wilfred Koyamba, a Bangui resident told Reuters.
In October United Nations officials warned that the Central African Republic (CAR) poses a threat to peace in the Great Lakes region following the toppling of President Francois Bozize and the failure by the new government to maintain law and order in the country.
Similarly the French president in a visit in South Africa in October expressed concern insecurity in CAR could spread across the region ‘‘because there is no state [in CAR].
The notorious Ugandan rebel group, the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) has sought sanctuary in CAR where it continues to engaged in gross human rights violations, according to humanitarian organisations.
According to the United Nations the conflict in CAR has affected 4.6 million people in the country with 10% of the population displaced from their homes.